The new pilot boat built using DIAM core materials.
The new pilot boat built using DIAM core materials.

A pilot boat is built for maximum performance and designed to guarantee safe operation. It must be a stable platform during pilot boarding, minimising vertical movement at high speeds in rough weather conditions and providing high manoeuvring capabilities and efficient running at transfer speeds. Also, all the structural elements must be able to manage a great deal of impacts.

Port Phillip Sea Pilots selected French Pantocarene self-righting design and Hart Marine in Mornington, Victoria, to build the new boats.

Established in 1983, Hart Marine has a history of building high performance ocean racing yachts. The company has also produced many special one off custom motor vessels and other marine craft, including a series of composite pilot vessels.

The Hart Marine composite construction uses vacuum bag resin infused technology which provides thermal and acoustic advantages (better insulation in the cabin), lower maintenance costs over the life cycle of the vessel compared with other materials, and a high standard of finish.

The core material used throughout Hart Marine’s projects is provided by DIAB which also provides services through its technical service department and the Composites Consulting Group (CCG) engineering division. Improved kitting solutions and finishes have allowed for the build time to be continuously reduced while keeping the strength requirements for vessels such as the new pilot boats.

Port Phillip Sea Pilot’s maintenance chief Chris Richards, who has had 35 years with the sea pilot organisation, describes the design and construction of the new boats as exceptional. The French naval architects Pantocarene have also endorsed Hart Marine’s build quality.